11 ways leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church

11 ways leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church

Having two LGBTQ+ children makes me hyper aware of the challenges they face growing up in the LDS church.

Growing up gay in the LDS church is problematic enough. Identifying as a gender outside of the conventional binary of either male or female adds even further complexity to the challenges queer youth face in the church.

The LDS church strongly adheres to the typical gender binary. It’s reflected in their scripture stories, in their temples, in how they approach parenting, in leadership responsibilities, and so on. Segregation of the sexes begins at 8 years old, with boys being shipped off to weekly Cub pack meetings and girls being shuffled to biweekly Activity Days. This segregation continues into adulthood, right to the day one dies.

This is problematic for people who don’t identify as male or female. They feel out of place when forced to segregate, and the discomfort (to put it mildly) can lead them out of the church ultimately.

Few resources are provided to youth leaders to help them address the unique experiences of the non-binary youth they are asked to lead. This goes not only for young men and young women leaders, but bishops and stake presidents, too. So, it’s not surprising, then, that leaders do little to accommodate their non-binary youth.

I reached out to our gender-fluid child, Ash, who will be entering the youth programme next month, and we worked together to compile these 11 tips on how leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church. Continue reading “11 ways leaders can make non-binary youth feel welcome at church”

Why I was wrong to march with Mormons Building Bridges

Why I was wrong to march with Mormons Building Bridges

Last year, I marched with and organized a group of local Mormons in the Lethbridge Pride Parade. We marched under the Mormons Building Bridges banner.

My reasons for marching were varied. Our daughter had publicly come out the previous summer. The LDS church had released their divisive and damaging policy update on marriage equality just months before. I thought it might be an act of solidarity to show the local LGBTQ community that some Mormons wanted to be supportive. I also considered that marching openly as a Mormon was an act of protest, co-opting “Mormon” from the church and redefining what it meant to be Mormon.

I realize now that marching was wrong. Continue reading “Why I was wrong to march with Mormons Building Bridges”

“But it’s not natural . . .”

“But it’s not natural . . .”

If your Facebook News Feed was anything like mine during the second week of July, you probably saw a lot of posts about Teen Vogue’s article on anal sex. Most of it probably in opposition to the article. There were even progressive voices criticizing it.

But this post isn’t about anal sex. Well, not really.

Last week, I was discussing the article after a Facebook friend posted a popular video of a woman criticizing the article. In this discussion, someone labelled anal sex as unnatural, using phrases like “against how the body is constructed” and “the anal (sic) is not made for that purpose”.

And it’s that idea of nature that I want to discuss. Continue reading ““But it’s not natural . . .””

The LDS church is wrong about same-sex marriage. Again.

The LDS church is wrong about same-sex marriage. Again.

Elder Larry R. Lawrence of the Seventy wrote an article titled “The War Goes On”. It appears in the April 2017 issue of The Ensign, an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Here is a quote from that article:

“Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, but same-sex marriage is only a counterfeit. It brings neither posterity nor exaltation. Although [Satan’s] imitations deceive many people, they are not the real thing. They cannot bring lasting happiness.”

See? This is just more proof that even in 2017, the LDS church just doesn’t get it. They can think they’re all clever and progressive by dropping the S from mormonsandgays.com, but stuff like this just reiterates how out of touch leaders are on the topic of its LGBTQ members. They literally don’t get it.

There are a few problems with this statement: Continue reading “The LDS church is wrong about same-sex marriage. Again.”

Gender neutral bathrooms: a legal requirement, or will your church be exempt?

Gender neutral bathrooms: a legal requirement, or will your church be exempt?

This is a guest post written by Holly Whitman and is American-centric. Holly is a freelance writer and journalist, originally from the UK but now based in Washington DC. You can find her on Twitter at @hollykwhitman and more of her writing on her blog, Only Slightly BiasedTo submit a guest post, email ourthoughts@gmail.com.

For the longest time, the most pressing issue about public restrooms was the mere fact that there often weren’t enough of them. This is especially true at concert and stadium venues, where the lines can stretch several hundred feet. Now, with the emergence of people identifying as transgender, the issue of restroom accommodation is taking on a whole new spin.

Will it become a legal requirement for a public building to require a men’s bathroom, a women’s bathroom and a non-gender-specific bathroom? And what about churches? Will they be required to expand their restroom facilities even if there is little chance of transgender members becoming a part of their community? Could this all be a case of political correctness run amuck? Clearly, there are a lot of factors to sort through when it comes to the bathroom question. Continue reading “Gender neutral bathrooms: a legal requirement, or will your church be exempt?”